In February, my parents went to Byromville, Georgia to attend the funeral of my mother’s uncle, Haessler, and to attend to his estate. After much goading and persuasion, my father has written a guest post about Byromville, and he took some pretty nice shots to go with it. So everyone, please welcome the man who still calls me Girlie, my dad, Dan Friedman. ~ellis
About 30 years ago Lisa and I went to Byromville, Georgia, where her mother lived, and where Lisa spent summers when she was growing up.
I remember the town being small and like a foreign country. It was the sleepy, mysterious small Southern town I’d seen in movies or read about in books where outsiders are rare. Small towns and foreign countries photograph better than new, large cities like Phoenix. Small towns in decline with visible marks of wear and tear are especially fertile ground for photographers.The years leave their mark on people, buildings and the landscape. Junkyards are fun too.
New cities just look too plain and sterile. The mundane shot of the Phoenix Airport economy parking lot where construction of a new Sky Train is in full swing, is banal, but man, when it starts to crumble, the paint flakes, rust streaks create graphic relief, it’ll be awesome…photographically.
The downtown of Byromville, whose better days have long gone looks more interesting, peaceful, and with a certain texture that new Phoenix will never have.
I do remember there was a dog sleeping on the sidewalk downtown. When we were there in February, there was still a dog sleeping on the sidewalk downtown.
I also remember Lisa’s “Granddaddy’s” house that still had the old furniture even though her grandparents had passed away some years before. Now though, the lot where the house was is completely overgrown as the house was razed some years ago. Lisa walked around, unhappy that the landmarks where she had spent summers were blotted out.
When Ellis and I were in Kashgar, Xinjiang Province, in western China, it was a photographer’s paradise. More exotic than Byromville, but like Byromville, visitors feel their foreigness.
These old guys were arguing about something while the other guy laid out the day’s “Uighur Bagels” which they baked in a wood-burning oven behind them. The old city was literally falling apart and it looked exotic, more exotic than Byromville, in rural Georgia, but they both cling to the past. Kashgar is losing it’s battle as the Han Chinese demolish the crumbling old city and put up sterile new buildings while in Byromville, people just leave for opportunities elsewhere unless they happen to be cotton farmers.
Anyone interested in writing a guest post on Plate of Wander, please email ellis (at) plateofwander (dot) com. Conversely, if you are interested in having ellis or Dan write a guest post for your blog, please email the address above.
See Dan’s work at thircareer.comAmerica, georgia, Kashgar, travel